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French Open Tennis: Men's Landscape Changing as Top Players Prove Vulnerable

PARIS - JUNE 01:  Roger Federer of Switzerland walks off after losing the men's singles quarter final match between Robin Soderling of Sweden and Roger Federer of Switzerland at the French Open on day ten of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 1, 2010 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Sam BlumCorrespondent IJune 3, 2010

The past six years of professional tennis have been something of a haze.

America has grown accustomed to "the matchup" of a Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer final. It has not only been a dynasty, but rather an era. These two have been the kings of the international empire that we simply know as tennis. 

However, although it has been a slow process, we are beginning to see a change. Finally, a major doesn't completely run through the top two seeds.

We are starting to see some big hitters and some smart players adding valuable depth to the men's tour.

Players like Marin Cilic, Andy Murray, Gael Monfils, Juan Martin Del Potro, and Robin Soderling have proved that they can be there on that final weekend, and that they have what it takes to compete with the best. 

We see now that Nadal isn't superhuman, and that his game, as exciting as it is, can prove to be a liability. Roger Federer is playing strong as usual, but in a time when the tennis game revolves on power, will his age catch up to him soon? 

Novak Djokovic has consistently been No. 3, but his total effort and willingness to compete has been questioned recently, and his early exit only backs up those fears. 

Tomorrow morning, Robin Soderling, Tomas Berdych, and Jurgan Melzer will be taking center court as three of the final four remaining players in the men's draw. 

Just one year ago, any player not in the top 10 reaching the final weekend would be somewhat unheard of.

I am by no means contesting that the top players we all know and love are quickly fading into oblivion.

No, what I am saying is that the men's game is evolving. 

Roger Federer will forever be the best, but now that players have matched up with him more than a dozen times, his game is no longer a secret. 

Tennis has gained a new level of depth and excitement, and I, for one, couldn't be happier. 

 

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